When a person claims a defence of insanity – they do not ‘get off the charge’. A big misconception. There will be many reports requested to look at a person’s mental capacity and there is a high bar set to prove a diagnosed illness or ‘insanity’.
This defence does not ‘get someone off’ a charge, and if insanity is actually found, the person may find themselves confined to an institution for an unknown period of time, which could end up in substantially outweighing any sentence they would receive had they been convicted.
The powers of the court in an insanity defence case are found in the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996